Balthrop Alabama | Caithlen DeMarrais

When you take enough back roads in America, you’re sure to wind up in a town like Balthrop, Alabama. Although that town is fictional, the folk-rock collective band ironically formed in Brooklyn, is real. Actually it’s a huge collective that somehow fit in Mercury Lounge and winning the award for the most on stage. The music conjures up songs you’d hear from the heart of Dixie, but in a more modern style and narratives about politics and dead people in love. The band was very entertaining and even had an artist interpret the songs through elaborate drawings projected onto a screen. Can’t wait to see these guys again.

Disclaimer: Yup, I’m still in love with Caithlen DeMarrais. I was anxious to hear what Caithlen has been doing since the end of Rainer Maria. Her myspace page had 2 quiet but emotional songs that were quite a departure from her band. She was backed up by members of the opening bands and I was surprised to see Kyle Fisher in the mix as well. She went from piano to guitar to mic flawlessly singing her new songs. The energy in the room was quite different from what I’m used to when seeing her live but it picked up when she played “Make You Mine”. Eager to see where her solo career will take this talented musician.

Bell @ Rooftop Films

After many failed attempts to see Bell perform live, I grabbed the opportunity to see her at one of the Rooftop Films viewings. The can factory is quite a cool building for a movie but probably the worst place to put on a music show. Her powerful yet delicate voice is beautiful in her recordings, but doesn’t translate well into a live setting. It sounded like an amateur show at your local coffee shop. At least the movie was kinda good.

Takka Takka | Mates of State @ Highline Ballroom

I missed Telepathique but caught New York’s Takka Takka play their very diverse blend of guitar pop. Their stuff ranges from quiet harmonies to up-beat rock which made their set a bit confusing. However I really enjoy the way they constantly change the music they play. They are getting somewhere with their stuff and feel they’ll find it soon.

Originally from Lawrence, KS the married indie pop duo Mates of State have been putting out interesting material for several years now, but with “Re-Arrnage Us,” they add some more complexity into their music. It’s still quirky and poppy but with now with added instrumentation giving it a richer and different sound. I was very impressed with Highline’s sound quality and despite the overly priced drinks, the show was great. Really addicting songs with a great crowd.

Pictures from the show.